GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Islanders’ inability to score sank to a new low Saturday night. They were shut out by a rookie goaltender making his ninth NHL appearance, a 1-0 loss to a Coyotes team that had allowed 35 goals in its previous eight games.
It was the Islanders’ third straight loss and they’ve produced two goals in those three games. As happened on Thursday night in Denver, a third-period power play gave the Isles a chance to turn the game around but again, there were too many passes, not enough shots.
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Louis Domingue made 25 saves for his first shutout and only seven in the third period. The Islanders were outshot 15-7 and outskated in the period despite trailing.
“We’re a more complete team than we’ve shown these last three,” Ryan Strome said. “We’ve done some good things, but I don’t think we did enough tonight. Two goals in three games is obviously nowhere near good enough.”
Coming off a pair of losses — 5-1 at home to the Panthers on Tuesday and 2-1 in Denver on Thursday — in which the Isles could take some solace in their edge in possession and shots, they seemed poised to break out against a Coyotes team that gave up seven goals two nights earlier.
The first attempt on Domingue on Saturday night — Frans Nielsen’s wrist shot from a sharp angle — clanged off the crossbar 25 seconds in, perhaps indicating to the Islanders that they needed to throw rubber on net.
They didn’t follow through in the first period, with only eight shots on goal and none on the first of three power plays. Jack Capuano switched up the power-play units with Kyle Okposo (lower body) sidelined, but the Islanders had only two shots on their three power plays.
“We’re going to have to find personnel that want to get pucks on net,” Capuano said. “You’ve got an extra guy out there, you can outnumber them around the net and we’re passing up shots at the blue line.”
Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s goal at 17:59 of the first was the only shot that beat Jaroslav Halak, who made 28 saves.
The Islanders were the better team in the second period, with Domingue turning aside Casey Cizikas’ shorthanded breakaway, and Halak kept the Isles within a goal during a strong stretch by the Coyotes to open the third.
Ekman-Larsson took an elbowing penalty with 8:54 to go, giving the Islanders that key power-play chance. They didn’t seize the moment, with Domingue turning aside Brock Nelson’s wrist shot in the closing seconds of the advantage and nothing else even close to a scoring chance in the final minutes.
The Islanders head home for a date with the Ducks on Monday before a five-day holiday break. They know there’s more to give after a three-game stretch of disappointment.
“It’s a long season and you have to understand there’s times when things are going really good and times you can’t get much going,” Thomas Hickey said. “It’s OK to take a step back, refocus a little and realize there’s going to be ups and downs and work harder to get yourselves out of it.”